Our final days in Dubai gave us the opportunity to see a bit more of this glitzy, over-the-top city. On Thursday, I took the Big Bus tour of Dubai while Michael went golfing at the Emirates Golf Club, where we met up for a lovely, albeit not a Thanksgiving, dinner. The weather was perfect all day.
As in Abu Dhabi, the Big Bus tour was a good way to get around to many different parts of the city in one day. In Dubai, there are two routes, so it really takes all day to do both routes and stop at several different locations. I definitely wanted to see one of the beaches and put my feet in the waters of the Arabian (aka Persian) Gulf, so I did the beach route first to beat the midday heat. I decided to stop at the free Jumeirah Public Beach, which is located very close to one of the famous luxury beach resorts, Burj al Arab.
The Public Beach, near Burj al Arab
The water was absolutely beautiful, clear and warm. Surfers were enjoying the waves. This was a popular stop for tours, and I picked up a few shells as mementos.
My next stop was the complete opposite of the beach – Ski Dubai, the indoor ski resort at the Mall of the Emirates, which is the first ski resort in the Middle East.
This was kind of funny to see in the desert and seemed to attract mostly people who had never seen or experienced snow before. There are sledding and snowman building areas, too.
Sheikh Saeed al Maktoum's House
After the beach route, I switched buses for the city route, which took me to Sheikh Saeed Al Maktoum’s House, an historical site located near the mouth of the Dubai Creek. The Al Maktoum family is the ruling dynasty in Dubai. Sheikh Saeed al Maktoum ruled Dubai from 1912 to 1958. It was interesting to visit his house, but it wasn’t set up as it would have been during his life. Rather, there were some old photo exhibits and stamp and coin collections in the ground floor rooms.
My camel friend
Next to the house was a house museum and a camel museum. Inside the courtyard of the camel museum was a recreated bedouin camp, and outside in one of the attached yards was a real camel.
My final stop on the bus tour was the Gold Souk. Michael and I ran out of time to find the Gold Souk on our first day in Dubai, so I was interested in seeing the outrageous displays. I connected up with a young woman from Brisbane, Australia, who had stopped in Dubai for the day on her way to France. We both felt more comfortable as we walked through the souk together.
You can buy a gold pacifier for your little prince or princess, or you can get gold frames for your eyeglasses.
Friday was our last full day in Dubai, and we had tickets to go to the observation deck of the Burj Khalifa, the tallest building in the world. The experience did not disappoint, as Dubai is all about glitz, glamour, and excess.
Some views from the top:
Looking down at the Dubai Mall on the left and the Dancing Fountain area
In the US, you can crush a penny to get a souvenir at different tourist sites. At the Burj Khalifa, you buy a bar of gold with the building’s image.
Afterwards, we took a taxi to see the Atlantis resort on the Palm Jumeirah. This resort is built on a huge, man-made island in the shape of a palm.
The Atlantis at the Palm Jumeirah
I had hoped to see the inside of the hotel, which is a copy of a famous resort in the Bahamas, but only hotel guests were allowed inside. There is a water park here and a dolphin experience, but we weren’t interested in those. After walking around a bit and getting a cup of coffee, we had to wait a while to get a taxi back into town. We ended up sharing a cab with a German couple. The world is truly small, as the man’s parents live in a small town near where my parents were born! When we arrived at our destination about 15 miles away, Michael discovered he had left his backpack at a bench where we had our coffee at the Atlantis! I had visions of the resort being evacuated, but when we returned to find it, the backpack was exactly where he had left it!
After finally getting back to the downtown area of Dubai, we returned to the Dubai Mall, walking around as many Emirati families do, and seeing the Dancing Fountain one final time.
The Dubai Mall
The aquarium at the Dubai Mall